Thailand protesters try to oust army from streets
BANGKOK — Tens of thousands of red-shirted protesters threatened to force soldiers from the historic heart of Thailand’s capital Saturday, raising tensions in what so far has been a nonviolent bid to bring down the government.
Riding on motorcycles and in pickup trucks, the protesters traveled in a noisy parade to eight locations including the Bangkok zoo and Buddhist temples being used by soldiers as temporary camps.
“We will storm the places where soldiers camp out. We’ll shake the fence. We’ll cut the barbed wire. We’ll march through the barricades. We’ll march for democracy!” a leader of the “Red Shirt” protesters, Nattawut Saikua, shouted to the crowd. “This is where we’ll end military suppression. This is where we’ll create democracy.”
Soldiers at several locations packed their belongings and left to avoid clashes, drawing raucous cheers from the protesters, who declared victory and by late afternoon retreated to the main protest site in Bangkok’s historic district. Authorities said the soldiers would regroup elsewhere.